Bands today need to get their priorities straight. Fans no longer care about flashy music videos or overproduced records. They really only want two things – beards and nicknames.
Man Man is a band that not only makes great music, but when it comes to facial hair and pseudonyms, but also knows where their priorities are. The group – comprised of lead vocalist and lyricist Honus Honus (Ryan Kattner), Pow Pow (Christopher Powell), Cougar (Alejandro Bjorg), Chang Wang (Billy Dufala) and Sergei Sogay (Chris Sharr) – use their unique sound, intense live performances and hairy faces to make sure all who listen will be entertained.
The six men of Man Man have been quite busy over the last few months. They recently decided to take a break from recording their third record, the follow-up to the fantastic Six Demon Bag, to tour the country and make a name for themselves. Although they have played giant festivals such as Pitchfork Music Festival, it doesn’t bother the band when they play at smaller venues to much humbler crowds.
“Last night was a good show,” said Honus Honus. “We played in Boise, Idaho, and even though there was only around 20 people there, they were all dancing and having a good time … it was a good show.”
Although they may not be selling out any giant stadiums yet, they sure have made quite a stir in the indie music scene. Recently, Man Man was asked to open for Modest Mouse on their upcoming spring tour.
“I heard they really like us and they wanted us to go on tour with them,” said Honus, who sounded quite flattered with the idea.
The tour will give Man Man a chance to show a far greater audience their unique style of performing, because they are definitely a band that needs to be seen in person to understand what they are all about. To them, a live show is just as much an artistic performance as it is a showcase for their songs.
From the moment Man Man steps on stage, they intrigue audiences with their “interesting” stage apparel. They are known for their beards and matching costumes – usually tennis outfits or war paint – which, as Honus claims, often show the scars of touring.
“You can tell we have been on tour,” said Honus. “By the end, all our whites are covered in blood and sweat.”
Their costume repertoire consists of basically two outfits, which they alternate by wearing the ones that are less wet from the night before.
I’m not kidding.
What really makes Man Man’s live shows, besides their sweat-drenched uniforms, is their dedication to performances and the uniqueness of their songs. They never take breaks between songs. Instead they play straight through their set so the momentum of the show is never lost. This forces them to choose their set list carefully, so that their concert keeps a high level of energy. They barely even glance at one another, so they don’t lose their focus as they play song after song. They do rely heavily on each other though and as Honus says,
“I couldn’t do it without my crew.”
If there is one aspect about Man Man that sets them apart from other bands, it’s their songs. Their tunes are filled with masculine singing followed by falsetto chanting of lyrics that sometimes sound like gibberish. They often get the reputation that they are a “joke band,” but just because their sound may be a little goofy at times doesn’t mean that their songs don’t have substance.
“Most of them are just fucked-up relationship songs,” described Honus. “We like to have a sense of humor about how fucked up our lives can be.”
They choose not to publish their lyrics, so that their listeners can make their own inferences, and take their own personal meanings from their songs.
When they finish their current tour, Man Man plans on completing their new record, before hitting the road with Modest Mouse. They hope for a fall release for the album, but first must find a label to publish it for them. Man Man may be a little too strange for some people, but for those nickname and beard lovers out there, it doesn’t get much better.
Man Man will be hitting the Canopy Club stage Wednesday, April 11 at 9 p.m. The Duke of Uke will be opening the 18 and over show, and tickets are $13 in advance. To learn more about Man Man’s style and sound, check out myspace.com/wearemanman, where you can catch their video for “Engwish Bwood.”